My thinking life has been a constant feud between always being prepared and always being unencumbered. I want to be ready for anything, but I don’t want to have to think about what I’m carrying, have too much, or not be able to move quickly and easily from place to place. In addition, I’ve always wanted to be ready to *do* anything and move in any circle. Hiking along a country road or getting into a hip club, I want to be comfortable and look decent.
Travel distills these situations. Exploring new places and experiences, you have to be ready to deal with many different situations, you want to be comfortable, you want to look good. You don’t want to lug tons of stuff around, because you can’t move easily and you don’t look like you belong. Travel makes you flex your ‘preparedness’ muscle while forcing you to make decisions about what you need, while society generally wants you to look good while doing it.
When you travel, you don’t want to *look* like you’re traveling. You want to look like a sophisticated local. So while you want nice outfits, you don’t want big suitcases, or bags that make you look like you’re camping.
So, besides being very conscious of what outfits you wear and what you bring with you, the look and size of the bag you carry things in becomes a key part of successfully looking like a sophisticated local.
A bag that can go anywhere, carry *just* what you need, and allow you to use it easily without thinking too much about where stuff is and whether or not you’ve brought it becomes the key ‘base’ of your travel experience. Being able to pack quickly and confidently for any trip makes you feel like you are in control of your experience and your life.